It came as a bit of a surprise to us in December 2014 when a new app arrived in the App Store, purporting to do some of what Air Display does, but over USB instead of Wi-Fi. Until then, the Word On The Street was that Apple was rejecting apps that communicate over USB. Apparently the policy had changed.
We took that lesson to heart. I’m thrilled to announce that we have launched a new iOS app: Air Display 3. For Air Display 3, we’ve combined the old features of Air Display you know and love, with the pressure-sensitivity features of Air Stylus, and added a rock-solid USB connection for wicked fast screen response.
Like Air Display 2, this third edition lets you extend or mirror your computer desktop onto an iPad or iPhone. But we’ve added some exciting new features:
USB: We’ve added USB. You can still communicate over Wi-Fi, which is very useful in some cases and allows you walk around untethered, but you can also plug in your dock connector and see screaming fast performance with no perceptible lag. This is great for using Air Display in locations with a hostile Wi-Fi network, like hotels, coffee shops, airplanes, and some corporate and campus networks.
Pressure: We’re retiring our Air Stylus iOS app and we’ve rolled all of its awesome features into Air Display 3. Now you can draw with your favorite pressure-sensitive stylus directly into a Mac app like Photoshop or Motion. In Air Display 3, we’ve added support for all of the latest styluses. And on iOS 8, you don’t even need a stylus: just tilt your finger to simulate pressure changes.
Pinch-Zoom: You can use familiar gestures to zoom and pan, which is quite handy at Retina resolutions. It makes the iPhone a useful second display.
Speed: USB speeds up the Air Display connection a lot, but Air Display 3 also dramatically increases performance over Wi-Fi.
And of course you have all of the old Air Display 2 features:
• Multiple Monitors: Air Display 3 connects up to 4 iPads simultaneously for powerful multi-monitor configurations.
• Keyboard: Type using Air Display’s built-in keyboard or any Bluetooth keyboard.
• Cross Platform: The free Mac host app is not just for iOS; it can also connect to our Air Display clients for Android, Mac, and Windows.
• Touch Gestures: You can control your Mac with intuitive iOS gestures: tap or drag to operate the mouse or tap, two fingers to right-click, drag two fingers as a scroll wheel.
• HiDPI: Choose Normal, Retina, or HiDPI resolution to suit your taste.
We’ve been dedicated to Air Display for the past six years, on iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. We released Air Display 1 in 2010, and Air Display 2 in 2013. And we have big plans for Air Display in the future.
It’s worth pointing out that Air Display 3 does not yet support our Air Display Windows host. It’s just for Mac users for now. As an ex-Apple software manager, that feels righteous to me. We’re leaving Air Display 2 in the App Store for Windows users. And very soon we will create an App Bundle to let Air Display 2 and Air Stylus users upgrade to Air Display 3 for a discounted price. (I’m also happy that Apple lets us offer discounted App Update Bundles now!) We just need to update those two apps so that they are compatible with an app bundle. (You can’t bundle an iPad-only app with a Universal app so we’re fixing that.)